Introduction — July 25, 2017
The incident in the Persian Gulf, reported below, follows a recent warning from Iran’s deputy defence minister that the country’s “enemies” were trying to probe and assess Iran’s growing defensive power.
The following incident needs to be seen in the light of that warning.
Readers will note that the encounter between the US Navy ship and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessel took place in the northern Persian Gulf. How near Iranian territorial waters isn’t reported but in view of Deputy Defence Minister General Hatami’s call for vigilance we may see more such encounters in the coming months. Ed.
US Navy ship fires warning shots at Iranian vessel
AFP — July 25, 2017
A US Navy patrol ship fired warning shots at an Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessel in the Persian Gulf Tuesday after it approached within 150 yards (137 meters), a US defense official said.
“The IRGCN boat was coming in at a high rate of speed. It did not respond to any signals, they did not respond to any bridge-to-bridge calls, they felt there was no choice except to fire the warning shots,” the defense official told AFP on condition of anonymity.
The incident occurred at about 3:00 a.m. local time (0000 GMT) in the northern Persian Gulf, when the Iranian vessel began to approach the USS Thunderbolt.
After the US ship fired the warning shots, the Iranian vessel stopped, the official said, at which point the Thunderbolt continued on her way.
The episode marks the latest in a series of close encounters between US ships and Iranian naval vessels.
In January, the USS Mahan destroyer fired warning shots at four Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels that approached at high speed in the Strait of Hormuz.
The Iranian Revolutionary Guards are a paramilitary force that answers directly to the Islamic republic’s supreme leader.